Here at the Center for Manufacturing Excellence we believe firmly that cooperative education and internships are a solution to many problems faced by graduating college students and by firms seeking new recruits. There are significant benefits and learning opportunities for students; and likewise, there are significant advantages for companies that participate in the program. Co-ops and internships can be described by a more generic term such as “work-integrated learning.” In this arrangement there is a partnership between an academic institution and an outside employer.
For many students this type of education is their first exposure to the realities and requirements of being a full-time employee. It allows the student to gain real-world work experience that gives them an advantage after graduation when starting their career. In our experience, students that have completed at least one co-op program not only have more job offers after graduation; but also, their starting salaries are noticeably higher than students that do not participate in co-op programs.
Employers find that hosting a co-op program within their company earns them many rewards. Notably, employers are given access to a source of high quality trained talent to fill open employment slots. On top of this many employers find that the student participating in the co-op turns out to be a very good fit for their firm.